Indiana General Assembly kicks-off with charity drive

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Thursday, November 20, 2014

The first meeting of the 119th General Assembly recently occurred, known as Organization Day, when all members of the General Assembly were officially sworn into office. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces at the Statehouse, old colleagues and new, and with everyone looking forward to the next legislative session, which is just around the corner, excitement filled the Statehouse.

Even though this was not the first time taking the oath of office, which was presented by Chief Justice Loretta Rush this year, I felt the same pride, excitement and responsibility that I did on my very first Organization Day, which I will never forget. To this day, I consider my oath to uphold the U.S. and state constitutions sacred and those words rang true and resonated in my heart.

As I was listening to Justice Rush, thinking about my first time being sworn in, I was reminded why I wanted to serve in the first place. I felt, and still feel, that more work needs to be done to benefit Hoosier families, not just in our community, but throughout the state as well. This can be accomplished by working together, regardless of which side of the aisle, listening to ideas and coming up with solutions that move Indiana forward.

House Speaker Brian C. Bosma reiterated our goals to move Indiana forward in his Organization Day speech, and I believe our agenda provides the framework to accomplish this. As I mentioned in a previous column, the theme of this year’s agenda is, “Accountability is our Responsibility,” and as public officials, we are accountable and have a responsibility to protecting Hoosiers and making decisions that improve our state, especially in key areas like education and public safety. Although public safety will be a large focus this session, we can work to address issues like domestic violence without legislation.

Each year, Speaker Bosma selects a charity on Organization Day to support and raise awareness for throughout the legislative session. I am pleased that this year’s charity is the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV). According to the ICADV, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and more than 10,000 men, women and children utilized their shelters in Indiana this past year alone.

The ICADV is a statewide alliance that offers technical assistance, resources, information and training to those who serve victims of domestic violence. The organization also promotes social and systems change through public policy, public awareness and education.

During the charity drive, we gathered donations from the legislators, staff and other state offices, but more work is still needed to address this issue. Since domestic violence impacts every Hoosier community, we will continue to support this incredible organization, and I encourage you to join us in that effort. For more information, please visit www.icadvinc.org.

With the legislative session right around the corner, many issues will be addressed this year, and I look forward to working with our community to address issues that are critical to our state’s future.

As always, I encourage you to contact me with any concerns, ideas or suggestions on how we can continue to make House District 76 the best it can be. I look forward making your voice heard at the Indiana Statehouse.

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Rep. McNamara (R-Mount Vernon) represents portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.